Seeing Twilight: A Tale of Survival

Several weeks ago, I went through a period of temporary insanity. It lasted about five minutes, which was just long enough for me to publicly admit two things. First, I do in fact sing along with Debbie Gibson’s Greatest Hits in the shower. And second, since I’d long ago succumbed to cultural peer pressure and read the Twilight books, I secretly wanted to see the movie. My Debbie fetish was pretty much inconsequential. But the Twilight thing? Well, that confession spiraled until I found myself at Tysons Friday night, with Little Sister and my two tween cousins, standing in line for the new release.

Despite rumors otherwise, it appears nobody over 18 has drunk the Twilight Movie Kool-aid. I was the oldest person in that line, aside from Little Sister, by at least a decade. And I’d come directly from the Place of Lawyerly Things, so I was still wearing my Lawyerly Outfit. Amidst all the Tween Hipsters decked out in skinny jeans and summer scarves, I stood out like Michael Jackson at Chuckie Cheese. Standing there, self-conscious in ways I haven’t been since 8th Grade Dance Club when the dance instructor and fate made me do the Electric Slide with Johnny Ebright, I realized something. Way back in my early twenties, when I was more hypercritical and narcissistic, I once had a conversation about how women get stuck in a fashion decade rut. At the time, I pointed to a woman sporting grunge and mall bangs as Exhibit A. Judgy Me didn’t understand why this woman couldn’t keep up with the clothes evolution, why her X-chromosome or some basic level of dignity didn’t compel her to trade in the Nirvana jeans for the then-trendy boot cuts. But on Friday, while I was standing in a sea of Tweensters, I got it. Because there is no way on God’s Green Earth that I am ever, ever, ever going to wear skinny jeans. And that’s when I planted my fashion flag. I’m forever The Early 2000s. My fashion clock has stopped and I have become Officially Old.

Tweenies hunkered down for the long haul

Tweenies hunkered down for the long haul

So, yeah, I was there feeling like an inter-galactic traveler from the Planet Mom who has just crash landed in Tween Town. And the natives were camped out as far as the eye could see. My cousin informed me that most of her friends had been waiting in line since school let out. That meant plenty of time to consume mass quantities of mall pizza, Twizzlers and Jumbo Diet Cokes. By 6ish, when we arrived, the Tweenables were in a seldom seen blend of Tired Frenzy. Most of them were sitting in groups easily delineated by their matching “Mrs. Cullen” or “The Twilight Tour” or “I Heart Vampires” shirts. And their skinny jeans weren’t doing much to cover their butt cracks. My burgeoning inner mom was shocked. Seeing all that prepubescent plumber butt en mass made me feel like a low level pedophile. But the worst part was the over-sugared squeeing. Chants of “Edward! Edward!” resonated through the food court. Of course Team Jacob had to respond, thus resulting in periodic chant-offs. Anytime the line inched forward, anticipatory squeals one decibel below Dog Whistle broke out. I’m pretty sure it was what Purgatory looks like.



Finally, finally they freeleased us from the holding line and pointed everybody in the direction of the theater. That began the Running of the Tween Bulls. Except with more gangly elbows and stompier because everybody was wearing camo Converse or Uggs. Inside the theater, groups saved entire rows. They had to sit with their 49 closets BFFs or they would Just Die. There was mad our-seats-are-here texting to those sent on Refreshment Recon and lots of waiving and shouting to friends returning from I-can’t-miss-a-minute-of-the-movie preventative potty breaks. Seven Loyal Readers, take my word for it. There is nothing as loud or as floral smelling as 1,000 females waiting desperately to see the Greatest Tweenrific Flick of their generation. If it weren’t for the excessive sugar consumption in the previous four hours, the Tweenies would have fainted from anticipation.

As the lights finally dimmed, I expected riots. It was close to Edward Time and the girls were having trouble containing themselves. They hopped in their seats, clutched the arms of their neighbors, and sent gloating texts to the socially inadequate frienmies who weren’t there. Fuelled by Fun Dip and adrenaline, pockets of crazed screaming rolled across the theater. Eventually hyper voices insisted, “Show Twilight!” and the chant grew until it became a mass demand. The Tweenettes never really did settle down. Throughout the previews, they yelled for the movie. And then, after a seeming eternity, the moment arrived: Bella’s voiceover; the start of the movie. The first two minutes were completely drowned out by the Tweensters’ mass scream. There was enough high-pitched squeeeing to cause a sonic boom. I’m pretty sure my head exploded. And they did Not. Shut. Up.

When Charlie The Dad appeared for the first time? Shrieks of devotion. For a dad with a questionable mustache and a police cruiser. Jacob the Other Love Interest? Screams of adoration and boos from Team Edward. The Vampire Posse? The theater shook and I located my nearest exit. I wasn’t sure if this place was stable enough to withstand hormonal surges of this magnitude. But for Edward, the current lust object of all red-blooded American Girl Tweens? They PAUSED THE FREAKING MOVIE until the sound died down and everybody had used their inhalers, dried their tears and stored images in their female spank bank. I couldn’t believe it.

For 122 minutes, I sat in Tweensylvania as Bella and Edward engaged in a Highly Passionate But G-Rated Romance. It was no Gone With the Wind or When Harry Met Sally. It wasn’t even as cinematically eloquent as Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. But then again, it wasn’t half bad considering the crap material they had to work with. (This is me, ducking the barrage of malted milk balls the Tween fans are throwing my way.) Fast forward to today. When anybody from the Place of Lawyerly Things asks about my weekend, I spend ten minutes making them to repeat themselves thanks to the ringing in my ears. And then I let them know I spent Saturday and Sunday piecing together the shreds of my dignity.


12 Responses to “Seeing Twilight: A Tale of Survival”

  1. pithycomments Says:

    ugh….for a moment we briefly considered going on opening night for Twilight, and after reading this, I’m so glad we didn’t. My ovaries would have jumped out and started bitch-slapping Team Edward and Team Jacob after about 20 mins.

    Right there with you. At one point, Little Sister told me to stop twitching.

  2. michelle Says:

    LOL!! I am way over 18 and have drunk the kool-aid…. but i am old enough to know not to go anywhere near a Twilight screening until at least next weekend!

    I am too easily talked into things…

  3. lacochran Says:

    That is the scariest thing I’ve ever read. (Your post, not the book.)

    You know, it sorta makes me want to go see Star Trek opening night. For comparison purposes only. Of course.

  4. Mallory Says:

    After hearing reports about the Twilight Tour of Terror, there was no way I was going near a movie theater this weekend. I’m going tonight, instead 🙂

    Enjoy it! Especially the “her name is Bella” line. Movie highlight.

  5. Lyssabits Says:

    Man, I went to the opening night of the re-release of Star Wars and it wasn’t anywhere near this level of insanity. And we had cosplayers and everything! There’s a certain amount of crazy frenzy when it comes to teen girls that their male counterparts, even at their nerdiest, can’t seem to work up… they’re always the nutty ones at anime conventions too.

  6. E Says:

    1. Wide leg and high waisted is the next wave of trouser fashion.

    2. …I’m seriously horrified that thousands of girls are growing up thinking that the Twilight series shows HEALTHY and ROMANTIC relationships.

  7. Jocelyn Says:

    No one looks good in skinny pants once they’ve hit puberty. Early 2000s fashion ain’t so bad. At least it doesn’t involve the sinful combination of a MINISKIRT with UGGS as so documented in your first photo.

  8. freckledk Says:

    They paused the movie? Get the fuck out. Unbelieveable.

  9. Janet Says:

    You’re a finer woman than I am. I’ve avoided seeing Quantum of Solace (I know! I know! It’s a James Bond film–the very epitome of misogynist. It’s my only completely unexplainable love as a feminist) precisely because I didn’t want to swim upstream against all the ‘tweens out to swoon over Twilight in the same theaters.

    In the meantime, my movies-to-see list continues to grow. Is it weird that I want to see Bolt?

    P.S. I’ve decided the late 90s and early 00s were a good fashion moment and play well into my dapper dyke look, so I’m sticking with it, too.

  10. Lyssabits Says:

    “No one looks good in skinny pants once they’ve hit puberty. ”

    Can we amend this to “No one looks good in skinny pants.. period.”? There’s a guy (a phd even! WELL past puberty) who wears them where I work and it just doesn’t look right. Dude’s probably flamier than our bunsen burners, but that’s no excuse in my book. I think the only thing that makes it marginally acceptable for this guy is because he’s rail thin, short, and sort of pixie-ish. I still think they look weird. Like denim leggings.

  11. Ben Says:

    Wow. Your experience trumps my experience. It was just like any other movie screening here! So sad. I would’ve had a better blog post otherwise…

  12. A 500 Post Tribute Song to the Author of Who Invented Roses « Are You Really A Lawyer Says:

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